Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas day

While Frances prepared the Christmas turkey and the house filled with the smell of good food, we decided to accomplish a few things we were saving for a day just like this one.

A few weeks ago, we brought the ladder to the fly bridge home with the goal of refinishing it.  We had previously disassembled it set aside all of the hardware.

One evening last week, we sanded the flat portions of both sides of each step with a palm sander. Today, we completed hand-sanding the rounded edges and the grooves that were milled into the top of each step. With the steps prepared, we lined them up on our basement workbench and applied the first of what will be five coats of Sikkens Cetol Marine Light.  We refinished the bridge steps in a similar way on Mad Dog, our 32 ft. Chris Craft Sea Skiff, and after three seasons of heavy traffic, the Sikkens looked as good as new.

While it is a time-consuming process to apply five coats to each side, it appears that we can get one coat on each side, each day.  If that works out, we'll be ready to reassemble the ladder in about a week.

About the time the turkey went into the oven, we cleaned the stainless brackets that hold each step in place and added a coat of good quality wax to each one.

We also had the shelf from under the vanity home for rehab.  We had removed it to gain access to the area behind the vanity so we could run hoses to the new toilet.  The shelf was pretty nasty.

We disassembled the teak trim, sanded the 30-year old stains off each piece and sanded and repainted the shelf itself, a piece of 1/2-inch, 6-ply marine plywood, that was as true as the day Silverton made it, despite having cleaning supplies and other bathroom junk piled on it for more than 30 years.

We set the shelf on our secondary refinishing station, also known as the dryer, and applied a coat of the same paint that we used last year on our deck.

We made some room for the teak trim pieces that surround the shelf so that we could apply Sikkens to everything at one time. Three coats for the shelf trim should be plenty.

Sunday... the day after Christmas
The weather looked bad here with snow approaching but we ventured down to Portland to see what we could get done, anyway.  Our electric heater in the boat took a while to get the cabin up to 40 degrees and we slid the car into the shed to keep the snow off it until we were ready to go.

We began by mounting the new Rule SuperSwitch bilge pump float switch just forward of where the old one was located. Then we screwed down the mounting plate for the new Johnson bilge pump. Interestingly, the hole centers for the Johnson pump mounting plate were exactly the same as the ones for the old Rule bilge pump. That saved drilling more holes in the fiberglass in the bilge. We snapped the switch in place and then did the same for new Johnson pump.

Now it was time to figure out the rat's nest of old wiring that ran the old bilge pump.  There were numerous butt connectors and splices and we cut all of those out. Using a test light, we determined what wires were used for manually operating the pump or allowing it to activate via the float switch.  We've decided to rehab the wiring connections in that area, now that we know what's going on. No sense in doing things half-way.

At that point, the the snow was beginning to blow and we decided to leave and get home while we could.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Eight more hours invested

We got in about eight hours on the toilet project this weekend and we hope, saw the last of the really difficult task of routing the holding tank hoses under the shower floor to the back of the vanity. With the proper 1-1/2-inch elbows in hand and our trusty heat gun, we were able to connect both the inlet and outlet hoses to the holding tank.  For the inlet that meant making a 90-degree turn and then running the hose through a stringer.  I know this photo looks scary with the dirty bilge and all the loose wiring but we've since cleaned a lot of that up.  We also removed the old bilge pump and float switch.

This old pump, a Rule Model 10, actually worked although we found the float switch was loose. We decided to replace them both, since we are going to rehab all of the wiring to the pump and float switch. We ordered a new Johnson 2,200 GPH pump and a new Rule float switch. Just another Christmas present for the boat that no one will ever see but will make us feel a lot better.

After getting the inlet and outlet lines connected to the holding tank, we ran a section of 5/8-inch plastic vent hose from the holding tank, under the floor and connected it to the 5/8-inch through-hull fitting behind the vanity.  Of course, the vent fitting on the holding tank is 1/2-inch NPT, and we thought we had a 1/2-inch thread-to-5/8-inch hose barb fitting but we didn't, so we ordered one of those too.

Our planning is getting better. During the week, while looking at what we'd do this weekend, we noted that we also needed a wire to supply 12 VDC to the toilet and three wires from the tank to the Snake River holding tank gauge. So, before we pulled the vent line in, we taped a short section of 12-volt cable and a section of 4-wire cable that we had in stock to the vent hose. When we pulled the vent hose through, out came our wires with it.

Again, this looks somewhat sloppy but we'll make everything nice and tidy as we make the final plumbing connections back there.

From now on, the order in which we do things is important.  Before we finished connecting the big hoses from the toilet, we needed to mount the syphon-breaker assembly.  That's simply a 12-volt solenoid that opens when the flush button is pushed, allowing water from the boat's cold water lines to enter the toilet.  We mounted the syphon-breaker on a piece of plywood and added the electrical connections and both the inlet and outlet hoses, since doing that after this thing was mounted would be extremely difficult.

Finally, the first hose that will go to the toilet appeared.  The holes were already there from the old gravity toilet. Guess we'll have to cover the small hole in the center since we won't need that one.

Next we installed the foil strips used by the Snake River gauge on the holding tank and wired them to the cable we had fished in earlier.

Before we left, we removed the wood platform that used to hold the maserator, sanded it and applied some paint. It really doesn't serve any use now that the maserator is gone but it does make a good spot to secure the wiring.

The white hose visible in the photo carries cooling water to the air conditioning compressor.  We'll route that out of the way and also get rid of that rat's nest of old wiring.  Luckily, we know where all those wires go.  We'll tackle that next Sunday.  We're taking Christmas day off.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Frances to the rescue

The new toilet saga continues. Last weekend, we drilled holes to run sanitation hose from the area behind the vanity, under the head floor and out into bilge area where the new holding tank is mounted.  We succeeded to getting one hose almost all the way into the vanity using a pilot line made out of #12 solid copper electrical wire, but try as we might, it wouldn't go that extra 12-16-inches that we needed. The hose we're using is 1-1/2-inch ID Dometic OdorSafe sanitation hose.

Frances volunteered to help on Saturday and that's just what we needed. With her pushing and twisting the hose from the bilge and me pulling on the pilot line inside the vanity, the hose finally slid in far enough. Frances also suggested that I wrap my pilot wire around a ratchet extension to form a handle. That helped a lot.

These photos show that first hose in the bilge and finally, behind the vanity where we wanted it.

While she was there, we decided to tackle the other hose, this one the waste line from the new toilet to the top inlet on the holding tank. That necessitated pulling out an old hose, which, surprisingly, came out without much trouble. We used the same technique as before:  We started by fishing in the pilot line and then, working together with Frances pushing and twisting and me pulling on the pilot line, the hose finally appeared from under the head floor in the vanity. This picture shows both hoses, finally back where we wanted them.

We began with 12 feet of sanitation hose which, based on some rough measurements, looked like enough.  We cut the 12-foot piece in half with a hacksaw but once both hose sections were in place, neither end could be trimmed with the hacksaw because of a lack of clearance.  Frances suggested using a cut-off wheel on our Dremel.  I immediately rejected that idea.  More on that later.

Today, with Frances off boat duty, we tried connecting the line to the bottom of the holding tank.  For now, that line only goes as far as the back of the vanity where it will eventually connect to yet another section of hose that will run the the pump-out fitting on the deck.

A word about this hose. First, from the research we did, this hose is supposed to be the best and it ought to be at $9.00 per foot. This is heavy-duty hose with a wall thickness of almost 1/8-inch. It's "flexible" to a degree but is very difficult to work with, especially since it is shipped rolled up and once cut, holds that curve very tenaciously. It is supposed to absolutely contain waste odor, forever. We hope to God it does because this is a project that we don't ever want to repeat.

Today, we trimmed the end of the hose, which enters the bilge area just above the holding tank. Using a heat gun on "high," we managed to soften the hose enough to get it aimed directly at the 1-1/2-inch elbow at the bottom of the holding tank. We heated the end of hose and tried to slip it onto the barbed elbow. No luck the first time we tried this or the second time but eventually, after applying a lot more heat, the end softened enough so that it could be forced over the barbs on the elbow.  Not easy.  It took an hour to finally get it in place.

Once that was done, we decided to try to connect the other hose (waste from the toilet to the holding tank that you can see at the top of the photo above) but found that the bilge space was too confined to be able to cut it with a hacksaw. Did we reconsider Frances' idea about using a Dremel cut-off wheel?  Yes we did, although we didn't have a Dremel with us. We'll have one next weekend, though and we expect that it will make the precision cuts in the hose we need.  Thanks again, Frances.

Not having the Dremel with us made us stop and look at all the other things that have to plumbed and wired behind the vanity.  Working behind the vanity is a problem, since we can just squeeze through the vanity door opening and once in there are very limited as to what we can do. We removed the old toilet vent line from the thru-hull fitting and measured for a new one.

The vent fitting looks little green but seems to be sound.

That nasty looking old T-fitting is connected to the hose to the old pump-out fitting on the deck.  That's going to have to go too.  Not looking forward to pulling that old hose out and putting a new one in.

We also sized up where the syphon-breaker assembly for the new toilet will be mounted and measured for the lengths and sizes of water hose that will be needed. We also measured for the installation of the flush-control buttons for the new toilet. That was time well spent because once the sanitation hoses are finally connected back there. we'll have a lot less room to run the fresh water line to the toilet and the vent line to the holding tank and the wiring to the flush-control buttons.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Plumbing the holding tank

We know this isn't a very exciting title for this chapter of the Silverton 34C blog but describes what we've been doing this past weekend.

In the last chapter, we had the holding tank's location decided.  This week we built and mounted a plywood base for the tank and then, using a 2-3/4-inch hole saw, cut a hole in the stringer immediately next to the holding tank so that we could run sanitary hose from the fitting on the bottom of the tank, under the floor of the head, exiting in the vanity.  That involved drilling though fiberglass, two sections of 3/4-inch plywood and another skin of fiberglass. It took a while, to say the least.  Here are the holes (one for the sanitary hose and one for the holding tank vent hose).

Once we had the hole drilled, we used a long section of 16 gauge solid electrical wire (you can see it in the photo) as a snake to see if we could find the opening in the floor behind the vanity. No luck. We hit yet another stringer that apparently runs fore-and-aft under the head.

We had to think about that for a while. We decided to cut away a little more of the plywood floor behind the vanity and when we did, we could feel the stringer and if we forced our head and shoulders through the open vanity door, we could actually see the it.  The opening in the floor was just big enough for a conventional electric drill (the battery powered one wouldn't make it) and with a new hole saw blade in place, we slipped the drill down under the floor and cut a new hole. Here it is with our electrical wire snake happily showing.  The plywood you see at the top of this photo is actually right under the head.

Eventually, the sanitary hose from the bottom of the holding tank will pass through hole we drilled, then though the second into the opening behind the vanity and will be connected to new hose that runs to the deck fill. Here's the old hose to the dick fill.

Next we have to deal with the the new hose that will connect the output of the new toilet to the top of the holding tank.  There is an old hose in place that ran from the old head to the maserator and we intend to pull a new hose in as we pull the old hose out. That will be a two-person job.  The bilge compartment where the holding tank is located is separated from the new toilet output hose by yet another stringer.  We lined things up and drilled a hole though that stringer. If everything works out properly, the waste from the toilet will exit via a new sanitation hose, go under the head floor and come out just aft of the new holding tank. With an elbow, it will go through the hole we just put in the stringer and directly into the holding tank.

The bridge ladder

Our bridge ladder looked pretty shabby and after looking at it for a summer, we figured out how to take it apart and refinish the teak steps. It's really quite well designed.  Each step is held in place with four Allen-head set-screws and four small square threaded stainless washers.

Once the set screws are loosened, the  steps slip down and off the stainless frame.  This is what they look like once removed from the frame.

We numbered them since we have no idea if each one is exactly alike.  Once the stainless bolts that hold the teak steps to the end caps are removed, the parts are lined up for cleaning and the steps for sanding a refinishing.

We've found that it's useful to have several boat projects going on at the same time: one on the boat and another that can be taken home.